Sunday, January 10, 2016

Ithaca Seneca DWI attorney: The DMV's Drinking Driver Program is newly named "Impaired Driver Program" in NY.

The DMV's Drinking Driver Program has been renamed the 
"Impaired Driver Program" in NY as of 2016

What's different than before?  

It appears that the New York Department of Motor Vehicles is expanding it's previously named Drinking Driver Program (now called the "Impaired Driver Program") to include BOTH alcohol and drug-related driving offenses... 

Before this change, the DDP was only available/expected by DMV for alcohol-related offenses. 

This is a new change for 2016 --and I'm going to have to see how things play out with both the NY Conditional License and the NY Restricted Use License --and how they relate to drugged driving convictions.

Prior to now, only somebody convicted of a DWAI (alcohol), DWI or Aggravated DWI, or felony DWI was eligible to take the DDP --and in some first offender cases, could shorten their license suspension/revocation.  Also, the NY Conditional License was only applicable to convictions of alcohol-related offenses listed above. But that didn't apply to VTL 1192.4 DWAI (Drug)...

On the flip side of the coin, somebody convicted of DWAI Drugs was NOT eligible for a Conditional License--they could only get the Restricted Use license and were not eligible or expected to take the DDP.  This appears to be changing in 2016.  Only time will tell if the IDP will be mandated or expected for convictions of VTL 1192.4 DWAI Drugs. 

The classes and program seem to be the same as they were before.  Still a 7 week class with about 16 hours worth of classroom time.  At the end of the IDP, most first time offenders are offered their full privileges back early.  (although it is not a guarantee by any means).

Is this DMV program change a good thing or a bad thing for my clients?

Again, time will tell.  However, it looks like on the surface that now somebody convicted of misdemeanor VTL 1192.4 (DWAI -Drug), might be able to complete the 7 week Impaired Driver Program and potentially shorten the 6 month mandatory license revocation following a conviction (for a first time offender).   In that regard, it could be a good thing for people convicted of DWAI -Drug.

Is the NY Conditional License only for alcohol-related convictions?

Yes, I don't think that is changing.  It makes sense that the NY DMV has separated the Conditional License for ONLY alcohol and the Restricted Use License for drugged-driving offenses.  The primary purpose is to differentiate drivers who must have the Ignition Interlock Device on their car following a misdemeanor or felony DWI conviction.  

If you are convicted of misdemeanor DWI (or felony level), if you are granted a NY Post-Revocation Conditional License (PRCL), it will have an "A4" label on it.  This symbol tells law enforcement that you are only allowed to operate a vehicle that has an Ignition Interlock Device.  It's a shorthand way for a police officer to make sure you're abiding by the law if you get stopped.  So I don't see that changing. 

There is no Ignition Interlock Device requirement for a Drugged Driving conviction --as the technology does not yet exist to measure somebody's blood for drug impairment. 

Therefore, if you are convicted of a drugged driving offense, you will likely be granted a Restricted Use License (unless you have used that same privilege previously in the past--then the timeline will be important).

Where is the Impaired Driver Program in Ithaca, NY (Tompkins County, NY) ?

  • Stacy Cangelosi
    Alcohol & Drug Council of Tompkins County, Inc
    201 East Green St., Suite 500
    Ithaca, NY 14850
    Phone Number: (607) 274-6288
    Fax Number: (607) 274-6280
    Classroom county location: Tompkins

In recent years, the class has been offered in the Tompkins Mental Health building on Green St.  There are usually two rotating classes simultaneously.  In other words, when one class is on week 4, the other class is on week 1, etc.  

My current clients tell me that the IDP is very full at the moment and is now (Jan. 10th) booking people out to late February/early March 2016.  Unfortunately, there's no way to speed up the process--you can only sign up AFTER your court case has been resolved in some way (either a conviction following trial or by plea). 

Some helpful links to the DMV website about some of this stuff: 

For my out-of-state license clients --you could get credit for NY IDP too...

Admittedly, this license stuff can be confusing and complicated.  If you have questions about anything, you are welcome to call me directly:  607-229-5184. 

By Attorney Mike Cyr


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